The 2019-2021 Wisconsin State Legislative Session brings some anticipated and many unanticipated legislative policy opportunities to our attention. The SWSA tracks this legislation (from Joint Finance, the Assembly, the Senate, and occasionally rules from the Department of Public Instruction).
SWSA members have access to a google sheet that is used to track current legislation, detail on the proposed policy, the SWSA position, key talking points, and advocacy steps for SWSA members to take. The Executive Director and Legislative Liaison update this document to keep this information current.
Recent Wins & What We've Done
Office of School Safety
On September 26, 2018, a team of SWSA superintendents, board members, and the CESA 1 Executive Director met with the Director of the Office of School Safety, Kristen DeVitt. The purpose of this meeting was to clarify questions around training, student reporting, and grant allocations. Kristen provided information for the team to share with the full membership and made a commitment to meet with the full membership within the next few weeks. For additional information on the School Safety Grants please reference their website at: DOJ Office of School Safety
School Boards across Wisconsin Passing Resolutions to Increase Special Education Reimbursement Rate to 90%
School boards across the state are passing resolutions to increase the reimbursement rate to 90% for special needs students, matching the reimbursement rate given to private schools under the legislated Special Needs Scholarship Program.
The federal government has stated a commitment to fund 40% of the costs of supporting students with special needs, but funds only 15%. In addition, Wisconsin had statutory language to fund over 60% of costs related to these students, but now funds merely 26%. The state of Wisconsin has not increased funding in public school special education categorical aid for over a decade.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau concluded that because of historic under funding of the state and federal government, public school districts must now fund over $1 billion to cover the educational costs associated with implementing Individualized Education Programs for students with special needs. As a result of under funding these critical services for students with special needs, public schools districts across Wisconsin transfer funds from their general fund to make up the gap.
SWSA is collecting resolutions from all over the state (including many in our own membership) and storing them in a google drive. Click on the link to see who has passed these resolutions and please feel free to use the resolution language for your district.
Please click on the link below to view a map that can inform you as to the positive fiscal impact of this increase on your own district.
SWSA Member appointed to Legislative Council Study Committee
Dr. Michael Weber, Superintendent of the Port Washington-Saukville School District was recently appointed to the Legislative Council Study Committee on Identification and Management of Dyslexia. Ramie Zelenkova, the SWSA Legislative Liaison, worked with Dr. Weber to ensure that the proper steps were taken to submit his application and resume. The first committee meeting will be held on Monday July 9, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. We will be tracking the work from this committee (and I suspect it should be airing on Wisconsin Eye). If you have any comments/questions that you feel is important for the committee, please contact Dr. Weber directly.
- Congratulations to Larry Dux, Board Member from the Pewaukee School District on his election to the Co-Chair Elect position for SWSA! Larry is a long-time member of SWSA and is a veteran on the Pewaukee School Board. He is actively involved in the WASB (Wisconsin Association of School Boards) and serves as a peer mentor to new board members. SWSA is thrilled to have Larry join the leadership team!